Three under-the-radar free agents the White Sox should target
Three under-the-radar free agents the White Sox should target
There are a handful of free agents the White Sox should be looking to add this winter, not just as future role players on a contender but also as trade currency ahead of next season’s deadline.
The Chicago White Sox probably aren't going to contend for a championship in 2019. After a 62-100 record this past season and the unfortunate [elbow injury to star pitching prospect Michael Kopech](https://www.betchicago.com/white-sox-michael-kopech-tommy-john-surgery), the realistic target date for winning has been pushed down the road. With Kopech returning from Tommy John surgery and other prospects arriving in the big leagues, all eyes will be on the south side of Chicago in 2020. The White Sox will still field a team next season. The goal may not be 90 wins, but manager Ricky Renteria will develop his young players while evaluating the future roles of his veterans. In that way, this offseason is big for Chicago. There are a handful of players the Sox should be looking to add to the roster, not just as future role players on a contender but also as currency to trade for more prospects ahead of next season’s deadline. Here are three under-the-radar free agents who make sense for the White Sox. ## Carlos Gonzalez The Sox did a lot of things poorly in 2018. To say hitting was an issue would be true in the sense that freezing cold water was problematic for the Titanic. It's just one part of a larger problem. Still, let's focus on improving the offense, specifically from the designated hitter spot. Last year, Matt Davidson was the DH in 64 games for the White Sox. He hit 20 home runs in 496 plate appearances, but overall Davidson's numbers were pedestrian. His slash line was .229/.319/.419, and he had an OPS+ of 103, which is barely above league average. This is from your DH, who does nothing but hit. In truth, Davidson isn't as bad as that line suggests. While he struggled badly against right-handed pitchers last season, the right-handed Davidson posted a .289/.382/.500 slash line against lefties, and his career .802 OPS against left-handed pitchers stands out. With Davidson attempting to become a two-way player in 2019, adding a platoon bat who can hit right-handers makes all the sense in the world. That platoon bat could be former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Although it feels like he has been around forever, Gonzalez is just 33 years old. He's no longer the borderline MVP who hit .336 with 34 homers and 117 RBI in 2010, but CarGo can still hit right-handed pitching. In 2018, he hit .284/.344/.485 with 12 home runs in 358 plate appearances against righties. He's not going to command a big contract, so signing him to a two- or three-year deal could be good for both sides. ## Brad Miller Another bat the Sox should target is Brad Miller. Compared to the name recognition of Gonzalez, Miller may have the average fan scratching his head. That's fair; the 29-year-old played in just 75 games between the Rays and Brewers this year, posting a .724 OPS with seven home runs. But this is an example of a player who could fill in admirably at several positions while providing some sneaky offense. Miller is a utility man, with experience at shortstop, second base and first base. The White Sox have Tim Anderson at short, Yoan Moncada at second and Jose Abreu at first, so adding Miller wouldn't be an attempt to knock anybody out of a job. But Anderson has yet to prove anything with the bat, and Moncada led the American League in strikeouts in 2018. At the very least, there's room for a veteran to steal some plate appearances. On Miller's end, he has a career OPS that's much higher against right-handed pitchers (.755) than against left-handers (.619). This makes him an excellent platoon candidate alongside Anderson, who has a career .661 OPS against righties versus .799 against lefties. In addition, Miller is only two years removed from a season in which he hit 30 home runs for the Rays. It's possible that Anderson, who is still just 25 years old, breaks out at the plate in 2019 and sews up a full-time job for the foreseeable future. If that's the case, Chicago could trade Miller or just grant him his release. But the upside of such a move, which would almost certainly come on a cheap, one-year deal, is obvious. __More:__ [Opening odds to win 2019 World Series](https://www.betchicago.com/2019-world-series-odds-cubs-favorites-white-sox-longshot) ## Ervin Santana It's no secret the White Sox need starting pitching. In the future, they're set with Kopech, Carlos Rodon and various others who could include Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning, Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer. For now, though, they're in somewhat of a bind. The 2018 Sox got more than 200 innings out of James Shields, who is a free agent. Even if Shields returns, they'd do well to sign at least one more veteran arm to ease the burden on the kids. That arm could belong to Ervin Santana. The right-hander is going to be 36 years old next season and is coming off a year in which finger surgery limited him to just five starts and an 8.03 ERA. But in 80 starts over the previous three years, Santana had a 3.47 ERA in 500 2/3 innings. He's not an ace, and never was. But despite missing time last year, one thing Santana has been good at is staying on the mound. He has thrown at least 180 innings in eight of his 14 big league seasons. Because of his advanced age and the uncertainty that comes with missing nearly an entire season due to injury, it's hard to see Santana commanding a large price on the free-agent market. The White Sox might be able to bring in the veteran on a one-year, incentive-laden deal, and with the low risk comes a potentially high reward. If Santana is healthy and looks more like the 2015-2017 version of himself, the front office could explore trading him in July. __Also read:__ [Cubs' free agent options beyond Harper, Machado](https://www.betchicago.com/cubs-free-agency-options)2018-11-20T22:34:07.222Z2018-11-20T16:34-05:00